Board of Directors

2021-2022 Board of Directors

President

Tonya Cowan

About Tonya Cowan

I am a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Education, concentration – Information Technology. My leadership, organizational and multi-tasking skills have allowed me to excel in my professional career and pursue personal business endeavors.

I have been in my marketing career for 20 years and have worn a number of hats throughout my journey. As a result, I have learned valuable skills which have assisted me in branching into the digital marketing space. My knowledge of processes, technical ability and creative mind have allowed me to develop a unique set of qualifications that I would like to share with companies and organizations.

My vision is to empower others. I find joy in seeing others succeed. Outside of my professional career in corporate America, I also provide digital marketing services for business owners who need a little professionalism added to their brand through my company, As You Wish websites|engagement|marketing, LLC. I also mentor young ladies between the ages of 12 to 18 in becoming successful women in society by teaching them to preserve and pursue their dreams, through my 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, Designed With A Purpose cfs.

All of the above allow me to fulfill my destiny and walk in my purpose, while continuing to grow in my career, advance my skill sets and assist in helping companies and business owners in their success.

1st VP/Membership

Tonya Verzaal

About Tonya Verzaal

Coming Soon

Treasurer

Courtney Barbee

About Courtney Barbee

Courtney is owner and COO at The Bookkeeper, a Raleigh-based firm offering operational accounting and CFO consulting to organizations nationwide. She is now in her third decade of accounting, and lives in Raleigh with her husband and two sons.

Awards/Past President

Hugh Firebaugh

About Hugh Firebaugh

I’m a marketer with 20+ years of experience as a strategist, creative director, art director, and copywriter. I have been fortunate enough to work with a wide variety of brands across almost every sector from enterprise-level clients to small, exciting startups and heartfelt non-profits. I’ve been involved in B2B, B2C, and pretty much everything in between. Along the way, I’ve picked up a few accolades, but am more excited to see transformation occur in the brands I partner with.

I like to look at big picture ways to meet business objectives by combining a strong brand foundation with strategic thinking with creative ingenuity. My role as a generalist allows me to look at the entire spectrum of available tactics to create a cohesive plan and to effectively guide it through implementation. It’s having the knowledge and experience to know proven tactics but also the courage to pioneer new ideas.

I am passionate about telling my client’s stories in a way that helps them achieve their own unique vision, and I love helping them bring that vision to life.

I have been part of the AAF in both Louisville and Raleigh having roles at every level of involvement including programming chair, a 2-year term as president, and a year as state governor. I’m excited to helm the American Advertising Awards for 2021-2022 and look forward to an exciting year of growth.

Diversity

Lexxus Betts

About Lexxus Betts

Greetings, I am Lexxus LaNeè Betts, Indianapolis, Indiana native and proud Alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University where I studied Biomedical Engineering. In my corporate tenure, I have gained experience in Quality Assurance, Quality Engineering, Risk Management, Design Control, Product Management and Project Management in the Medical Device Industry.

Outside of corporate work, I am passionate about my non-profit, Thrive Women’s Empowerment and my Event and Organizational Management Company, Rêve Par LaNeè, LLC. I thrive to turn what society believes are impossible dreams into capable lifestyles. I currently reside in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area with my furbaby, Benji . My life’s mantra is “Relentless Pursuit of Perfection” I look forward to making your acquaintance.

Interactive

Adrian DeGraff

About Adrian DeGraff

Adrian DeGraffenreidt, Interactive Chair, maintains the current Federation website to ensure accuracy regarding events, news posts, and digital ads. Adrian ensures all Board Members are properly trained on he use of the website. In addition, he maintains the e-commerce aspect of the website to ensure event pricing is accurate for each program and event. As the Interactive Chair, Adrian supports other committee chairs by maintaining registration lists for upcoming programs and events. Adrian is the leading resource and advocate for the Federation that keeps our members connected.

Member at Large

John Moore

About John Moore

A passionate creative leader, John works to inspire his team and clients to push boundaries and connect with audiences in ways that generate action. He manages projects, people and client expectations with equal enthusiasm. From brand identity to integrated campaigns, John leads with a focus on translating business strategy into effective marketing communications. An award-winning art director and designer, with a desire to find innovative solutions, he has overseen creative campaigns for a diverse range of clients including Wrangler Jeans, Pendleton Whisky, Cordura Fabric, Kioti Tractors, Georgia-Pacific, Sappi Fine Paper and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

John is a native of Raleigh, NC and attended NC State University, where he received a degree in Verbal & Visual Communications. The son of an art teacher and an architect, John has had a love for art, design, photography and advertising, as far back as he can remember.

Communications

Mike Weiss

About Mike Weiss

Hello, my name is Mike Weiss, and I’m excited to be the Communications Chair of AAF Triangle. I’ve been in the marketing industry as a copywriter since 2016, right after receiving my MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa. I’ve worked with marketing and communications agencies in both Florida and the Raleigh area. Currently, I am a content writer for IBM.

I am passionate about both marketing and content creation because I believe that the power of refined storytelling can accelerate a brand to success. I love working with brands to craft creative, compelling, and consistent messaging that helps the ideal audience understand the impact a business can make in their lives.

Outside of my professional life, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Jessica, and my children, Mari and Finnian. We are fairly new to the Triangle area, so we enjoy exploring our new hometown, finding nature trails and outdoor areas. I also write fiction in my free time and have published a handful of short stories.

AAF Triangle is such a great organization to be part of because it allows marketing professionals of all specialties to get together and join a larger community. By doing so, our members have access to incredible resources, events, and networking opportunities that can help their careers and expertise. I’m

Public Relations Chair

Casey Sokolovic

About Casey Sokolovic

Casey is curious and strategy driven with a passion for the outdoors, cooking, and adventure. Casey supports her team by leading projects from conception through launch and driving public relations through pitch development and media outreach. She currently supports brands including Pendleton Whisky and Smith Anderson.

Casey graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Business Administration, a minor in Nonprofit Studies, and a M.S. in Management. She also holds a MSc in Global Luxury Management from Skema Business School (Paris).

Past Presidents

Mike Allen

Bill Harper

Reid Byers

Scott Scaggs

Ed Roberts

Jessica Eure

Ben Schwaubauer

Amanda Longo

Amber Frasketi

Bill Cross

Blake Hardin

Bud Coggins

David McWhorter

Dawn Astorino

Donald H. Williams

Eva A. May

Frank K. Manson

Kathy Bennett

Kenn Buckner

Lisa Rondina

Mack Moore

Maria L. Montaño

Mark Holmes

Mark McMullen

Mike Allen

Mike McTaggart

Nancy Perry Johnson

Phil Winstead

Rachel Ervin

Robert Butler

Sheila Hale Ogle

Sue Toth

Susan Brami

Tim Allen

Interested in Joining?

Members of AAF have dedicated professionals who work, teach, and study in the field; and have a passion for advancing the advertising industry. As an active member, you’ll have access to AAF’s well-connected community that will help you boost your knowledge and advance your career. Plus, you can connect with advertising agencies and marketers in the Triangle through one of our professional chapters across North America.

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Get Involved

As the saying goes “It takes a village.” Join our village and help bring the region’s marketing and advertising community to life.

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